Last week, I experimented with fish cakes – this week I woke up in the early hours of the morning after dreaming about making this dish! Scary but true. I had a notion to blend the classic idea of the rice ball – arancini – with the fish cake. Arancini are one of my favourite Italian nibbles when I am ever over there. They originated in Sicily as far back as the 10th century – so these babes deserve respect. Classically they are filled with a ragu or mozzarella or peas. Sometimes olives. They are diverse in their nature.
For my take on them, you need a small fillet of salmon per person, skinned. 2 tbsps of breadcrumbs – a good pinch of dried chilli and a good pinch of dill. Plus, 2 tbsps of bread crumbs and a single serving of cooked cooled rice – about 100gm -I used basmati. Pop the salmon in the blender with the chilli and dill, a good grind or two of black pepper and sea salt. Blitz until roughly chopped. Add to a bowl – add the cooled rice and mix well. I cooked more rice than I needed just in case – you basically want the rice to be half the amount of the salmon in the bowl. Using your hands, take a portion of the mixture and roll into balls – I made 3 each for three of us. Place onto a platter and then sprinkle over the breadcrumbs – roll the balls round in the crumbs until coated. In a large frying pan drizzle about 2 tbsps of olive oil and when hot add the salmon rice balls. Move them around gently every couple of minutes until they are nicely golden brown- about 14 minutes.
I served them with sweet chilli sauce and a simple salad drizzled with fig flavoured balsamic sauce and several cornichons. I was very pleased with the result. You could easily make smaller ones for appetisers at a party too.